Happy girl in school and a title 38 stories about remote learning.

Helsinki residents share stories about last spring’s headfirst dive into distance learning

The City of Helsinki has gathered a collection of personal stories about the rapid transition to studying from home due to covid-19 restrictions. The testimonials tell of the creativity, sense of community and optimism that helped the schools and families pull through the dramatic change.

The spring of 2020 will be remembered for the huge, almost overnight digital leap that each Finnish school and family took due to coronavirus restrictions. Remote learning and studying from home started in mid-March 2020, without any idea on how it would go and how long it would last. After eight weeks of distance learning and teaching, schools in Helsinki eventually re-opened on 14 May 2020.

A mother from Kontula, a district in northeast Helsinki, was positively surprised how quickly her sixth-grader adapted to the remote learning and new online tools. “The school provided both of my children with laptops, which they are now adept at using,” she says.

Jussi Jokelainen was happy to see how versatile and creative his child’s school assignments were. He was pleased to see that children were encouraged to learn in new ways during the distance learning interval. School assignments consisted of useful, everyday tasks such as beating carpets, sewing on buttons, separating egg whites from yolks, doing a spring maintenance for a bicycle, writing a letter, and building a fort outdoors or finding one in nature. “I doubt that any of these important topics would have been taught if the coronavirus wouldn’t have come,” he says.

We would like to thank the students, their guardians and family members, and everyone in the Education Division’s staff for making distance learning a grand success. Together we made it happen!

Click through to read all 38 stories  – one for every day of the spring 2020 distance learning interval.